Courtship instead of dating
Some years ago when my wife and I started going out together, my wife’s Bible Study leader in the parachurch group we were in gave her a book on dating. Clair and Bill Jones, has a very attractive title:(Here’s Life Publishers, 1987). But now looking back I am glad that my wife did not apply the principles taught in it, or I might not have married her! It gives a ‘sanctified’ definition of dating as: “A growing friendship between a guy and a girl which honours Jesus Christ as each person puts the other’s need first” (p. As the book progresses, however, it becomes quite clear that the authors are simply trying to force-fit some biblical guidelines into a questionable worldly practice which is at worst a sensual and meaningless end-in-itself relationship experiment, and at best a rather selfish trial-and-error spouse fishing method.
Consider how the authors exalt non-commitment in dating and deprecate commitments.
In a letter to William Farel, John Calvin explained what he was looking for in a wife: I am none of those insane lovers who embrace even vices, once they have been overcome by a fine figure.
The only beauty that attracts me is this: if she is modest, accommodating, not haughty, frugal, patient, and there is hope she will be concerned about my health.…
The first of the pluses is: “You no longer have to worry about getting a date”!
One of the minuses is: “You are limited in who you can date.…
I also believe that dating without any marriage-focus goal does promote worldly principles of self-centredness, which often results in very painful break-up between couples. Since marriage is an ordinance of God, there must be acceptable activities that lead to it.
The fact that Scripture does not dictate any one method suggests that it is a matter of Christian liberty.
This is the healthiest stage of dating, because a person builds friendship with many different people…” (p. They may or may not have talked about their commitment.You are committed, so you no longer have the freedom to go out with others. We will be hard pressed to prove that dating is always sinful.This can create problems if a holy hunk or spiritual fox arrives on the scene” (p. But I do believe that the practice of casual dating is one of the causes of moral laxity in the American culture.The church, moreover, does not have any biblical warrant to arrange marriages. I would define courtship,—in distinction to dating,—as activities between a man and a woman with the goal of marriage in view.In other words, it involves a man and a woman going out together as a couple with a stated or understood goal of marriage.
Yes, it must be entered with the understanding that there could be good reasons eventually to call off the relationship; but the reasons must be biblical.